And not very much like Midsummer's Eve either. For the past few days we've had slashing rain, high winds, trees whipping their branches and flowers hanging their sodden heads to the muddy ground. It can't really be the middle of June and the summer solstice. It must be a mistake. Will the real Midsummer please come forward?
Yesterday, as I needed to get new material for a column, we braved the rain and went down to Killarney to interview a jarvey. Jarveys are the men who take visitors around the lakes in horse-drawn jaunting cars.
The first few we tried were shy and very disinclined to be publicised in the paper, but then we saw a possibility bowling along the road by Muckross Abbey, and pulled in to wait for him at his stopping point.
Michael Kenny is one of nature's gentleman. He's been taking visitors around for over twenty years and, although he admits it's hard work these days, since the repair of carts and harness is no longer widespread and therefore far more expensive, he still sees it as the only proper way of life for him. 'We work from March to October, seven days a week. Sure we can always sleep during the winter!' This nice horse is called Philip, and he's part Irish draught, part Connemara. 'I call him Philip because he has royal blood in him, so he has!'
Today is always a busy one chez Celtic Memory since several regular columns have to be written up and sent in. Why, some among you may enquire, are these not spread out over the week, and prepared in advance, since the deadlines are apparently so well known? Well if you're asking that sort of daft question, you are clearly the kind of knitter who only works on one project at a time, for which you buy just enough yarn and no more. And your house is probably tidy too.
Anyway, it being another wild and rainy morning, it was quite pleasant to stay home and work on the computer - resisting the temptation to do just a le-e-tle bit of surfing and checking out on blogs and new yarns. By lunchtime, though, exhaustion was setting in (you'd be surprised how hard it can be to find just the right words to express something, while still keeping the overall piece within the strict space limits), and working on the French Market Bag was a welcome diversion.
It doesn't really look like anything much, does it, at this stage? A big sloppy heap of boring knitting would about describe it. Maybe it'll be better once it's been given the what-for in the washing machine. If not there'll be trouble. Finally reached the enormous stitch count required for the base, and currently galloping up the sides towards the handles, but it is taking quite a lot of time. If I don't get it finished tonight, though, Something Else will intrude, and it might never see the felting stage.
Because tomorrow, being Midsummer, sees the start of Summer of Socks and Celtic Memory has to be out there at dawn, needles sharpened and yarn at the ready. And there is a quandary (isn't there always?). The socks currently OTN, Pomotamus, though utterly lovely, don't count for this event as they were already started before the Solstice. The intention had been to cast on some stunning green and silver cabled socks, thereby enabling the ticking off of both the Harry Potter KAL and Summer of Socks (did you notice that cool button on the sidebar? How daft can I get, joining another KAL? But who could resist Harry Potter? And of course I opted for Slytherin House. Somebody has to show how maligned, how misjudged those marvellous people are!),
So the way forward seemed really clear for once, but then disaster struck. I was gifted Socks by the adorable Deb of The Woolley Farm, and now -
I really really want to do THESE
I made a throwaway remark in my last posting about this divine yarn from Knitivity being ideal for the kind of kneesocks you could flash at a bishop, but the idea took hold. That pattern and this yarn together would make a pair of lacy hose so devastating they would topple an entire cathedral, let alone a bishop. It must be something Ray of Knitivity puts into the dyepot. I don't know where he gets those divine colours. Divine, that's it! Fit for a bishop. Oh the guilt, the torments. Do I go green, do I go wicked pink? Where's it all to end?
By the time a few inches had been worked on the French Market Basket and the skein of wicked pink wound off into two balls (well, just in case, it doesn't mean anything, look the green yarns are wound up too - oh they're not, well they will be, honestly), it was time to get dressed up and go out to a theatrical performance. A theatrical performance which was to take place on a naval base some 35 miles away. A theatrical performance which was to take place out of doors on a naval base some 35 miles away on possibly the worst night of bad weather County Cork had seen in centuries, and which wasn't going to start until 10 pm.
I looked at DH. He looked at me. We both looked out at the wild windy rainswept garden. I went upstairs. I changed into a long velvet skirt, wrapped a rope of pearls around my warm poloneck - and settled in for a nice evening at home.
Is there anything as delightful, as comfortable, as an evening at home when you really thought up to the last minute that you were scheduled to spend it somewhere else? Somehow you relish every minute that bit more.
The evening was not entirely peaceful, though. Crisis on the landing. This, you will recall, is where Tasha keeps her tiny tent, her yurt, to which she retires when she wants, a la Garbo, to be left alone. The other two know the rules perfectly well. Number One Dog Has Her Own Yurt.
But this evening something went seriously awry. I heard snarls, grows, mutterings, and went up to investigate.
Shock, horror! Muffy, Muffy the Yarnslayer, who usually can't find her way out of a paper bag, much less into a confined space, had somehow managed to get into Tasha's private domain. There she sat, glowering triumphantly, while Tasha pleaded eloquently for reprisal and Sophy, ever the peacemaker, looked upset. League of Nations, where are you when you're really needed?
Sophy was actually upset before this incident, since she had had to have a bath. She had come in from rolling happily in the garden (yes, in the pouring rain) and it became immediately apparent that there was Something Narsty in the Shrubbery. She stank to high heaven. Shades of Muffy last summer (if you can't remember that posting, don't go looking it up, for heaven's sake, it isn't a pretty story). Oh dear. Major clearing up obviously on the agenda once this confounded rain stops.
But wait. Is the shrubbery perhaps an official rabbit graveyard? The last resting place of elderly bunnies? If so, what to do? Clear the bushes? Put up rows of tiny tombstones? Hold multi-belief ceremonies? It's so difficult to know the right action to take, isn't it?